Artist Statement

Irena Kelso

Irena is a self-taught hyper-realistic artist that works with a wide variety of mediums, from acrylics and pastels to colored pencils with her favorite medium to work in being color pencils.  She loves sharing her passion for animals through her art, as she watches the animals she draws come to life and jump off the page.  One of her high points is creating memorial portraits and seeing the owner’s face light up when their beloved pet looks back at them from her creations.  When she needs to take a break from drawing fur, she is known to paint a landscape or two.  When refreshed, she returns her mind and hand to the fine details of animal fur, or scales.

As far back as Irena can remember, she had always loved to color, draw and paint. When she was a little girl you could always find her coloring and drawing.  She remembers sitting on the front steps of her childhood home drawing for hours on end.  She always had a sketchbook and pencils with her, even on the weekends when she traveled out to the country to visit with family. When she was about 9 or 10, her parents sent her to a summer art camp. For her, it was like having Christmas all summer long!  During her time at camp, she won some awards.  The awards weren’t prestigious, but to a young girl, it made her feel like she was Picasso!

When she got a little older, she had to put down the pencils and brushes and concentrate on her schoolwork, and you know how that goes, once you put them down it becomes harder and harder to pick them back up.  First it was school, then boys, career, raising a family, showing and raising her Great Danes, grandkids, traveling, etc.  Life got busy, until it knocked her on her butt, literally!  Irena is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and although she couldn’t see it then, she sure does know it now.  Back in August of 2020, while was hiking with family, there was a freak incident resulting in her shattering her kneecap. While recovering from a surgery to repair her kneecap, Irena was in a car accident on her way to physical therapy.  The car accident sent her progress backwards.  It was at this time she picked up her pencils to combat the boredom.  She started back sketching with graphite. It was then she realized how good it felt to have a pencil in her hand and craved a little more.  She soon bought herself some colored pencils and hasn’t looked back since.  She is now doing what she loves to do…DRAW!